The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: January 13, 2010
Sirnaomics Licenses Polypeptide Nanoparticle Technology for Its siRNA Therapeutic Product Development
(Nanowerk News) Sirnaomics, Inc. announced today that the company has licensed a polypeptide nanoparticle technology invented by Professor A. James Mixson of University of Maryland Medical School. The licensing agreement grants Sirnaomics exclusive rights to a patent covering use of Histidine-Lysine polymer (HKP) for siRNA therapeutics in the areas of wound healing and ocular diseases (U.S. patent application 60/173,576 filed December 29, 1999). Sirnaomics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company founded in early 2007, is dedicated to advancing RNA interference (RNAi) technology for novel targeted therapeutic development. The company's multi-targeted siRNA therapeutic programs utilizing its nanoparticle-enhanced delivery technologies represent a unique approach for truly realizing the advantages of small interfering RNA (siRNA)-based drugs to treat various critical human diseases.
RNAi plays a multifunctional role in molecular biology by silencing genes through chromatin remodeling, interfering with protein synthesis, and, in its best-studied mode of action, reducing gene expression by cleaving messenger RNA. Experimental applications of RNAi have spurred the exploration of gene function in many basic research, drug discovery and clinical settings. The 2006 Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology and a number of corporate acquisitions, investments and mergers have injected billions of dollars into this novel technology and further fueled the enthusiasm for the great promise of siRNA therapeutics development. Consequently, there are more than a dozen clinical trials currently ongoing for various therapeutic applications of RNAi.
Sirnaomics' mission is to advance RNAi technology for rapid development of novel siRNA therapeutics. The company's proprietary "Tri-Blocker" technology for multi-targeted siRNA cocktail design is reflecting the unique advantage of siRNA-based active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in knocking down multiple disease-causing genes in the same treatment. Through in-house efforts and collaborations, Sirnaomics is developing nanoparticle-based siRNA delivery systems in three generations: the self-assembled nanoparticles (1st), ligand-directed nanoparticles (2nd), and infrared-activated nanoparticles (3rd), for various types of therapeutic applications. The "Snano" series of the company's siRNA delivery technology are representing the 1st generation and will be complemented by the addition of the licensed HKP technology.
"Licensing the Histidine-Lysine polymer nanoparticle technology is rooted in our long time experience and in-depth understanding of this unique class of polypeptides as an siRNA delivery vehicle. The two year collaboration between Dr. Mixson and Sirnaomics, supported by a Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant, facilitated progress of our scarless wound healing program and resulted in the discovery and development of STP705 (Cutasil®)," said the President and CEO of the company, Dr. Patrick Y. Lu. "The collaboration and licensing agreement have provided an important foundation for Sirnaomics' technology and product development. We are currently engaging in several similar collaborative efforts and we believe that this is a great way to create value and ensure the credibility of a novel technology."
"STP705 is a topically applied formulation for delivery of the siRNAs to the wound site and it has demonstrated accelerated wound repair yet with reduced scar formation in both murine and swine excisional wound models," explained Dr. David Evans, the company's vice president for discovery research. "The remarkable therapeutic benefits of STP705 in these models have clearly demonstrated the power of HKP for in vivo siRNA delivery and, based on our extensive data set we are actively seeking partnerships to drive STP705 to the market". The exciting experimental results will be reported during the upcoming Keystone Symposia "RNA Silencing: Mechanism, Biology and Application" on January 14-19, 2010.
Sirnaomics, Inc. is a privately held Delaware corporation headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA. Established in 2007 by a group of leading scientists in the field of RNAi technology, the company is pursuing the mission of advancing RNAi technology with novel targeted therapeutics development. In 2008, the company established its subsidiary in Suzhou, China to expand its R&D capacity and potential market. Members of the senior management team bring over 60 years of combined experience in the biopharmaceutical, financial and business management industries. Supported with funding from founders, angel investors, government grants and China-Singapore VC, Sirnaomics has developed a strong portfolio of intellectual property with an enriched product pipeline. The therapeutic areas of interest include wound healing, pandemic flu (H5N1/H1N1), ocular diseases, oncology, spinal cord injury and transplantation.